It took the Geneva football team more than 31 minutes to get the offense on track in its home opener Friday night against Joliet Catholic Academy.
With 2:29 left in the third quarter, Brendan Krohe scampered for 1 yard to score the Vikings' first touchdown of the evening. Prior to the Geneva TD, JCA had scored 4 times to give the Hilltoppers a comfortable 27-7 third quarter lead.
In the last 14 minutes of play, Viking quarterback Bobby Murray's passing game combined with timely fourth down conversions and a well-executed onside kick netted Geneva 3 more TDs, but the Vikes still fell short, losing 34-27.
"I'm really proud of them, we can build off this. That first half was a little disappointing. We were fighting ourselves so hard with the 2 turnovers. (JCA) did a nice job with some big plays, too," said Geneva coach Rob Wicinski. "The second half was huge for our mental state. They calmed down and relaxed. We realized we were OK."
After Krohe's rushing touchdown, Murray connected with three different receivers for 3 fourth quarter touchdowns. Garrett Sneed scored on an 8-yarder, Max McCloughan crossed the goal line after a 14-yard toss from the junior QB and Krohe scored his second TD catching a 22-yard pass in the end zone.
Murray finished the night completing 25 of 39 passes for 225 yards.
The Vikings (0-1) made four straight fourth down conversion during the rally.
After McCloughan's score with 1:33 left to play, Geneva recovered an onside kick at its own 49. Murray moved his offense down the field with 6 complete passes ending with Krohe's catch with 17 second left to play.
The Vikings attempted another onside kick but were not successful.
The first half of the game was all JCA, specifically running back Ke'von Johnson. The senior scored all three of the Hilltoppers first half touchdowns.
Johnson put JCA (1-0) on the board with a 34-yard run with 5:06 left in the first quarter. On the Hilltoppers' next possession, he grabbed a 3-yard Aidan Tyrell pass for a score. The Hilltoppers took a 21-0 halftime lead on Johnson's third s TD a 21-yard run with 2 minutes left in the half..
JCA widened its lead to 27-0 on its first possession of the second half on a Johnson 64-yard run. He rushed for 202 yards on 15 carriers.
Mike Butler scored what would be the Hilltoppers' winning TD early in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run.